February 28 – Love your Enemies
Jesus told the people, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
People love to do the “easy” thing. We take the easy road, we sign up for the easy classes, we read the easiest books. It is not in our nature to do things the hard way. Jesus challenges us again by telling us we must not take the easy way, and just love those who love us. We are to love our enemies!
Who are our enemies? First, we have to look at those who persecute us for our Catholic beliefs. Today, there are terrorist groups and other radical religious groups who are attacking Christians for not following their way. There are atheists who are working to take any public religious symbol away from us, such as the 10 Commandments in front of courthouses or Nativity scenes on public streets. There is Hollywood in both TV and movies who portray the religious as “crazy zealots” and glorify the secular life. Then, there are those closer to home, our friends and family who criticize the Catholic Church and demand that we defend the church. Jesus calls us to love and pray for those who attack us so that we can be like our Father who loves all of His creation. It is easy to love only those who love us. That is how those who persecute us act when they only associate and love those who agree with them. In contrast, to love others in spite of their not loving us in return, that is godly love, perfect love.
Lent in Action:
Show godly love to someone who does not like you because of your faith.
Loving God, thank you for showing me what perfect love is. Show me whom I should love completely even though they may not love me in return. Soften my heart to love others as you do, especially those who have hurt me. I ask this in the name of the One who loved me enough to give up His life for me. Amen.